If you’ve been following my blog, you would know how much I love reading Sophie Kinsella. So much so that over the years I’ve collected and read all her books except three (I’ll soon get my hands on them, worry not, LOL)
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella was a birthday buy for me. I picked it up because of its highly alluring blurb. A couple in love, all settled into their lives with each other and then, surprise, surprise. I love surprises but I am so bad at giving them. I tend to get so excitedly impatient that I end up surprising the other as soon as I can. Anyway, this book is not about me so I should shut up and talk about Sylvie and Dan.
Together for 10 years now, Sylvie and Dan have reached a slumber in their relationship. Married and parents to twin girls, their life is perfect, until they come to know that they might have to live like this, with each other for eternity. Eternity? For them, it is another 68 years. Easy to give sleepless nights to anyone, this number 68 leads the effervescent Sylvie to devise a plan to keep things interesting between them. After all, there is only so much sex that one can have! So, begins the plan “Surprise Me”.
What began as a coherent plan to spice up their lives soon turns into full-fledged drama when Dan’s ever so spunky ex turns up and he begins to reconnect with her. Then there is something her own mother is brewing up with Dan. also, a new owner of her office comes in barging demanding a wrap-up of the work they are doing, and possibly, a closure. Needless to say, Sylvie starts getting uncomfortable due to the mourning office tensions, and with all the secrecy that Dan is forcing on her, she can’t just turn a blind eye! She must do something that she doesn’t want to do ever and will take all her courage, confront. Confront Dan and her mother and
Phew! As much entertaining as these rom-coms are, they tend to get so complicated with multiple layers and plenty of characters flitting in and out, it gets hard to remember who came in when and what purpose will they have in the future. In short, is it worth remembering them until the end or should one let them pass? One can never know.
Sylvie is ever so alluring, I don’t know why I like such characters, LOL. She isn’t witty though, she is, on the other hand, quite dumb yet strong-willed towards things that matter to her. She reminds me a lot of Becky Bloomwood, in fact, she seems a lot like her at the first glance but having had delayed the review by a couple of weeks, I now realize that they are as different as they can get, but not without an underlining quality of panic-stricken crazy and impulsiveness. Dan is like any other male protagonist in such books. Broodingly handsome, secretive, loving yet distant, determined to save his family from harm but on the way inflicting mental trauma to them, unknowingly of course. The other characters barely leave a mark and hardly belong in the story other than in snippets to keep the plot moving forward.
The plot is nothing really different than the other Kinsella books. I am not giving out any details but I will tell you this, I figured what the whole fuss was about when the first clue was dropped, and let me say that although I pride myself in the fact that I know an author so much that I can feel the way she thinks, I really am saddened because this means that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy her books as I used to, anymore.
Ms. Kinsella gives us an emotionally charged story about the dual sword that a long-married life is, diving deep into its complications, comforts, and intricacies that keep the partners together. It is insightful, I must say, but there is a lack of trust in the familial relationships portrayed. Dan and Sylvie, Dan and his father-in-law, Sylvie, and her mother, all of them are bound together in a family yet they seem to be not accepting each other for who they are. Even Sylvie’s in-laws are shown in a not so good light. There are a few other relationships portrayed, a mother and son which I found realistic and extremely relatable, Sylvie’s boss and the employees, which was rather over the top, and Dan and Sylvie’s twins, which was super cute. I always wanted to have twins, but I was instead blessed with a single child, who I must say is not less than two when it comes to demands, LOL.
For the sake of my love for Ms. Kinsella, I cannot bring myself to rate it any lower than I already have despite not liking the book as much as I had hoped for. It did dash my high expectations of an excitingly fresh read. I hope she reads her books herself and sees what she is doing.